Axed ‘The Doctors’ host accuses show of racism and sexual harassment

The medical talk show “The Doctors” has been hit with more racism allegations.

On Monday, ex-host Dr. Ian Smith, who is black, filed an unlawful termination complaint against distributor ViacomCBS, production company Stage 29 Productions, Dr. Phil’s son Jay McGraw, who heads the firm, and the show’s executive producer Patty Ciano.

Dr. Smith, who also alleges Ciano sexually harassed him, was hired to co-host the show in 2013 for its sixth season. But the suit claims he wasn’t invited back for the seventh season after he “voiced complaints regarding discrimination which he experienced and observed.”

In the suit, he complained, among other things, that “African-American hosts were on fewer shows than white hosts. African-American hosts were paid less than white hosts. African-American hosts were not in as many integration segments as white hosts. There were not enough African-American producers.”

Ciano approached Dr. Smith in 2020 about becoming the solo host of the show following the killing of George Floyd and civil unrest around the country. “[Dr. Smith] specifically said that there had been racial issues during his first tenure and unfair treatment of African-American hosts. He said that he would return only if that conduct was not going to be repeated,” the suit states.

“[Ciano] assured him that things had changed for the better, the show would be committed to fair treatment and there would not be any discriminatory behavior,” according to the suit.

Dr. Smith returned, but Ciano continued to ignore his concerns about diversity according to the suit. At one point he suggested “several black producers” who could be added to the show, but, according to the suit, Ciano responded by saying: “I don’t think that’s important right now. We have you as the host. That’s what matters. Besides, I really don’t have the budget to hire any more producers.”

He alleges Ciano hired more white producers two weeks after telling him there was no room in the budget.

The suit also claims that Ciano sexually harassed him and would comment about his physique, “suggesting that he should wear tighter shirts to show off his ‘guns’ more.”

Dr. Smith claims he filed an anonymous complaint, but that “CBS informed [him] that it conducted a full investigation and found no wrongdoing.”

Dr. Smith claims in the suit that he complained to Ciano directly about “racist discriminatory statements” he heard other producers make about him over Zoom and that she dismissed them as “producers being tired after a long week and just venting about their bosses.”

Dr. Smith was terminated and replaced by Dr. Drew Ordon, who is white.

Earlier this year, former co-host Dr. Rachael Ross made similar allegations about Ciano and “The Doctors” to Page Six. She described the workplace as “toxic” and told us Ciano constantly harassed her about her hair. She complained to HR and warned: “If you guys aren’t careful, you’re going to get touted as a really bad place for minorities to work, and they told me they would look into my claims,” she said. Ross told us she was “basically forced out” and her contract wasn’t renewed.

Ciano denied her claims at the time and said, “I am devastated by these unfounded and shocking allegations. I stand by my character and know the truth, that I have been a champion for diverse talent and inclusive stories throughout my entire career. While it is impossible to prove that I did not do something, I can absolutely say these hurtful lies are not true,” she said.

A spokesperson further added: “These baseless allegations are inaccurate and untrue… A lie unchallenged becomes the truth and we absolutely refute these lies.”

They did not get back to us about Dr. Smith’s lawsuit.

source: nypost.com